The Role of the Union, Management and Consultant in a Total Quality Transformation Effort

Article

Bednarczyk, Betty L.; Negus, David P.; Persico, John   (1989, ASQC)   AFL/CIO/CLC, Minneapolis, MN; Dominion Bridge, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Process Management Inst. Inc., Bloomington, MN

Annual Quality Congress, Toronto, Ontario, Canada    Vol. 43    No. 0
QICID: 3543    May 1989    pp. 41-59
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Article Abstract

Cooperative Union-Management relationships are an essential characteristic of a Total Quality Control Company (TQC). The traditional adversarial relationship that exists between many companies and their unions represents a major hurdle that must be overcome in a total quality transformation effort.

Unfortunately, few quality professionals understand much about present labor-relations issues and how such issues can impact the union's response to a quality improvement effort. The attitude of many quality professionals is that "TQC" is like "Mom, God, and Apple Pie", how could anybody be against quality improvement?

The naive perspective of many quality professionals is in stark contrast to the realities of the workplace. For instance, in 1986 at the GM plant in Van Nuys California, the introduction of a team concept for quality improvement just barely passed a union membership vote by a narrow 53-47 percent margin. Since then an opposition slate has worked to oppose the concept (Labor Notes, June 1988). Several union have actively opposed various forms of quality improvement; this includes quality circles, joint labor-management teams, gain-sharing, and statistical process control.

In a union company a successful quality transformation effort requires that management and labor work together to effect the change. This will require that certain steps be taken on the part of both management and union leadership. In many cases, it is essential that a third party neutral or consultant be available to facilitate these steps.

Each of the specific steps that must be taken by both management and the union will be addressed in some detail by the authors of this paper. Labor's role will be addressed by Ms. Betty L. Bednarczyk, Managements role by Mr. David P. Negus. The role of a quality consultant will be addressed by Dr. John Persico Jr.

Keywords

Unions,Human resources (HR),Labor relations


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